The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Hearth and Home // Orange Tree Healing

Although I have had a fair bit of luck with my first real attempts at nurturing my own garden, my green fingers sadly lose their magickal touch when it comes to orange trees.

B brought one with him when he came to live with me and that promptly shed its leaves and left this world, never to return. I felt awful. To console ourselves we bought a new, beautifully healthy orange tree earlier this month. I viewed this tree as a new start for a new year and I was so looking forward to seeing (and smelling) the beautifully scented blossoms in late Spring.

Two weeks in and there was a growing pile of leaves on the carpet. A few more days pass: cue mini oranges dropping with quiet thuds that seem to reverberate in my ears; little echoes of guilt at my inability to look after this special tree. 

We have read countless blogs, forum posts and advice websites about orange tree care and all seem to say the following: don't over-water and keep warm. If the tree is getting lots of light but the roots aren't above at least 10 degrees C, the tree will lose its leaves (and probably die, says my brain).

Yesterday, as I watched our tree dropping its leaves, at a rate that seemed like every few minutes throughout the morning, I decided to take hasty action. I ran over to the local garden centre and asked to speak with a citrus expert. If they even had a citrus expert. Luckily they did. 

She told me to keep the tree in a cool spot over winter. Around 5 degrees C will do, as long as it has loads and loads of light. Only if the tree is at risk of frost should you move it away from the light of a windowsill. Central heating is the most likely reason for my tree losing its leaves.

So I bought my tree a beautiful new terracotta pot, which should prevent frost getting to the roots, re-potted it in nourishing citrus compost and fed it with citrus feed for winter (there are different kinds for winter and summer, according to my new favourite citrus expert). I also kept whispering softly to the tree how sorry I was for not going sooner to find accurate information and how much I really hope it will be okay. 

Come on, little tree.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Wheel of the Year // Imbolc...just around the corner!

Imbolc is only a couple of days away and the sense that the world is waking up again, under Brigid's warming influence, is all around me.

Lately I have found waking and rising in the mornings particularly difficult - I think due to the combination of residual lethargy from being ill and the prevalent darkness in the mornings. Today I allowed myself the treat of being awakened in my own good time, with the morning light - rather than an irritating alarm - and going for an early walk.

Leaving for work and returning home in darkness has been my routine for the past couple of weeks, since going back to work - I haven't had much chance to see the light, let alone everything that is growing around me. I am always surprised when green shoots begin to poke back up from the dark earth at this time of year.

 I don't know anyone who gets as giddy as me about snowdrops. These are the first I have seen this year and I was overjoyed when I spied them. 

They are so clean and white; so fragile yet clearly such hardy little beings to survive the frost deep in the ground each year. 

So when I arrived back home after my walk, I began my hasty preparations for honouring Brigid on Tuesday. My hearth has had a jolly good Spring clean today, so I feel ready to welcome her in for Imbolc. She's already waiting outside.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Full Moon // Wolf Moon


Tonight's Wolf Moon rides high and clear in the frosty night skies. My breath caught when I caught I glimpse of her this evening. She looked utterly beautiful - a silent but ever present reminder of the ebb and flow. After a week of feeling my energies rise, I am once again, noticing them drain away tonight. Initially this made me feel emotional and sad, but I am coming to terms with the fact that it will be a long time before I feel truly healthy again. She will keep me in mind of that fact - some days I will feel whole and light; others I will feel as though I am in shadow.

Brightest full moon blessings to you all - may she guide you well. 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Spells // A Spell for New Beginnings

Light is seeping back into our world in the Northern Hemisphere and Imbolc - the festival which heralds the return of the life-giving forces of Spring - is around the corner. It is a time of new beginnings and, with that in mind, I thought I would share with you a spell, or ritual, you could perform to honour and utilise these powerful forces of change. 

You will need:

* A piece of black paper
* A piece of white paper
* A pen
* A feather
* A piece of ribbon
* A small fabric pouch
*Any nuts, seeds or dried flower heads
*A large pillar candle, representing the Goddess
* A white candle
* Cedarwood incense
* Water
* Salt

Cast a circle around yourself, to create a peaceful, safe space, free from interruption. You may work on the floor or around your altar. Working outside, somewhere in nature would be ideal but if this is not possible, don't worry. Ensure you won't be disturbed - this ritual requires quiet reflection. 

Each corresponding tool above should be placed in the right 'corner' of your circle. North (Earth) should hold the salt; West (Water) should hold the water; South (Fire) should hold the candle and East (Air) should hold the incense. As you place the item in each corner, visualise the element you are calling and invite them respectfully to your circle. 

Within your circle, quietly meditate whilst focussing on the Goddess candle. Visualise changes you wish to come to be in your life and yourself; imagine any traits, doubts, worries or fears you wish to let go and bring to mind any positive alterations and outcomes you want to achieve. Ask the Goddess to help you in making these wishes become reality. 

Keeping these visualisations clearly in mind, write on the black piece of paper all the things you wish to stop or cast away. Once you have finished, wrap this around the feather and tie with the ribbon. In turn, take the bundle to each of the elemental corners and politely ask the elements to guide your fears and negative behaviours away from you. Sprinkle  the bundle with salt and water; move it gently it through incense and flame.

On the white piece of paper, write down all the things you wish to grow, nurture and achieve. Once you have finished, fold this piece of paper tightly and place inside the fabric bag with the nuts, seeds or flowers. Again, ask the elements for their assistance in ensuring your hopes come into fruition. 

Close the circle, thanking each element for their help. You will now need to move outdoors - somewhere as undisturbed and natural as possible. 

Your black piece of paper, tied to its feather needs to be cast away. If you are lucky enough to live by the sea or a river - even a little stream - these are perfect. Those of you who live in a more urban setting will need to be a bit more creative: think of ways the feather can be carried away on water or wind. It must not be allowed to stagnate near you any longer. 

Your little pouch, containing the seeds and your white piece of paper, should be buried - somewhere where your dreams can 'grow' into fruition: beneath a strong tree would be perfect. Pour your 'seeds' into the soil and imagine them growing as strong and tall as the tree. Gently tie the pouch or a spare ribbon to the tree as an offering of thanks. Try to return to the spot through the year to 'water' your seeds with good intentions.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Wheel of the Year // Waking Up

Spring is on its way!

Pushing their way up out of the thawing soil, the bulbs I planted in the autumn are starting to appear in abundance. In my teeny tiny plot of land, the wheel is turning again...we have come full circle.

Who cares that Christmas is over? This is far more exciting!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Wheel of the Year // A Shining Light

A very belated post this be...

To everyone reading, I wish you a very happy New Year and hope that it will be filled with love, light and laughter. 

To those of you who celebrated Christmas, I hope it was a wonderful time, enjoyed with loved ones; and for those of you who celebrated Yule, I can only hope you were as lucky as I, to share it with such generous, warm-hearted and like-minded people - in spirit, if not in physical presence. 

This Yule I took part in the lovely Faerwillow's 'Celebrate the Season Swap' over at ~serendipity~
I sent out some seasonal crafts and in return received some absolutely beautiful Yuletide treats.

From Faerwillow herself a box of goodies came...

 ...filled to the brim with beautifully packaged parcels, decorative ornaments and lovingly hand-made tools of the craft. What an absolute joy. In a time of darkness, this was truly a shining light. Many 'thank you's, my generous friend. 

I also received a second parcel from the incredibly talented Theresa over at Faerie Moon Creations who had sent me two beautiful ornaments reflecting the natural world. This lovely bauble was hand-made by Theresa and I think its delicate beauty is too lovely to save for Christmas trees - it will hang from my mantelpiece all year round. Thank you, Theresa. 

And thank you to all who have followed this blog over the past year...I can't quite believe almost a full circle has turned since my very first post. Such a lot has changed and yet, in some respects, it seems to have gone in a wink.

I have been having a jolly good think about what I can do to celebrate my first 'blogiversary' and I am in the process of cooking up some sort of giveaway, so pop back over the next week for news about that.

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